Drug Rehabilitation

Drug rehabilitation—inpatient programs

Both inpatient and outpatient programs are available for those who have had a drug problem and have acknowledged the need to seek treatment in order to get over that problem. In this article, we shall deal with inpatient programs only. No specific hospital or drug rehabilitation will be mentioned.

General information

Inpatient care is for those who require hospitalization treatment, whereas outpatient programs, while they may take place partly in a hospital or clinic, do not require the patient to be in such facilities for 24 hours a day. The individual on inpatient treatment lives in the hospital and is kept for an indefinite amount of time.

Some of the things that take place in inpatient care

While on an inpatient program, patients take part in a variety of forms of treatment. These include the twelve step program, therapy sessions, and individual, group and family counseling.

Twelve steps

The “twelve steps” were first proposed in 1939 in the book Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism by the founders of Al-Anon. Since then, they have been formed a part of many drug rehabilitation programs. It involves admitting that the addiction is beyond one’s control; recognizing that there is a higher Power up there that can be a source of strength; looking at and making amends for past errors with the help of a someone who has been a member for a longer time; learning to live by a new, better code of behavior; and helping others with their addictions.

For a listing of the twelve steps—the exact wording varies—see Alcoholics Anonymous.

Therapy sessions

At therapy sessions, members meet to talk all about their addictions—how they began, what horrible things happened as a result, what made them realize that they needed to reform and what they have done so far to remedy their problems.

Individual, group and family counseling


Recovering addicts also meet regularly with drug rehabilitation counselors to discuss where they are and how much farther they need to go before they can be considered to be fully recovered. The counselors use the information that the addicts give them—both addiction-related and non-addiction-related—to figure out a plan of action that will assist the addict in acknowledging what kinds of events will trigger addiction in him and how to avoid giving into the temptation. Everything that is discussed in these sessions is protected by doctor-patient confidentiality, so the addict should feel free to talk about anything that he feels like discussing.


Group counseling has long been regarded as one of the most effective forms of treatment. It helps patients realize that they are not alone in wanting and needing to be free of their entanglements with drugs. It can also enable them to develop new relationships. Members must always express their disagreements in an amiable manner and more importantly, they should learn from each other.


The family members of the drug addict may also be asked to take part in counseling sessions, to let him know that they are still part of his life and that they want to help him to recover. At such sessions, the counselor asks each member to describe the ways in which he has been affected by the patient’s addiction and what role, if any, he has played in the recovery process. The hospital may even provide fun and games for the children. Family therapy is valuable because in so many cases an addict’s family may continue to “hold a grudge” against him, making the healing process slower than it should be.

Some final notes

Inpatient treatment can be a very effectual way of providing hope of recovery to addicts who might not otherwise have one. Unfortunately, many of those who enter such a program fail to complete it, for varying reasons. The program itself may not provide enough incentive for them; it may be too short, or it may not monitor its patients too closely or attempt to probe too deeply into their addictions. All too often, the patient himself simply lacks the courage to face up to his problems. For such people, it must be acknowledged that they simply will not help themselves, so nothing can really be done for them.